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Discussion Starter #1
OK, 1050 miles on the new 2005 ZXW and I did the first oil change.

Comments:

Nice design. Was easy to change the oil without ramps or anything. Filter is vertical near the front and easy to access and remove from underneath with minimal spillage and no stretching. Oil plug has deep threads into the cast aluminum pan. Steel plug into an aluminum pan means the pan threads will give first, but they are plenty deep and appear unlikely to strip unless REALLY overtorqued. No problem using a torque wrench on the drain plug without raising the car. The valve cover has a little curved drip rail molded into it to catch a drop or two of oil before running off the valve cover and onto the exhaust manifold. Nice touch.

Question:

The oil that drained out was the oddest stuff I have ever seen. It was not dark, but rather was very opaque and had a strong greenish cast to it, with a hint of gold. I'm letting it overnight to settle, just to make sure there isn't any coolant in it.

Does Ford use a break-in oil on the Focus which would account for this odd color? I didn't think anyone used special break-in oils any more. I did notice that when I checked the oil first when it only had 30 miles on it that the oil was much more opaque and "yellow" than I am use to seeing. Is this a charateristic of the new GL5 5W-20 oil? The Motocraft 5W-20 synthetic blend I put in looked mostly like normal oil, but it does have a more yellow cast to it. but not nearly as opaque as when I first checked the dipstick when picking it up new.
 

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It was your preference to change the oil at just over a 1000m. I changed to Royal Purple at 3000m. The drained oil was a typical tint with suspended dirts and vanishes contained within. Perhaps changing your oil so soon prevented the initial oil to actually break down with time and get that dirty look. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"The drained oil was a typical tint with suspended dirts and vanishes contained within."

OK, if that's what's normal for the new GL5 5W-20 stuff. I've been changing oil for 40 years now and I've never seen used oil like that before.
 

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you haven't seen oil like that because you changed it so soon and it was still new. I didn't change mine until 5k, and every 5k afterwards... just like Ford says to do. I don't fall under the severe duty milage schedual.
 

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What you saw is likely normal, with it being so new. When we first got this car, the oil did have a very opaque slightly yellowish/greenish tint to it. Now with 2500 miles on the car, it just looks like normal oil. I don't know if Ford puts anything special in the engine, but there are still some vehicles out there that do use a break-in oil. There was a long discussion a while ago on the 00-03 Honda S2000's, and they determined that the factory did put a special molyb based additive from the factory, which was verified via some internal memo's. Of course with a 9000rpm redline, the S2000 motor is really pretty exotic in nature for a street engine.


penguin said:
OK, 1050 miles on the new 2005 ZXW and I did the first oil change.

Comments:

Nice design. Was easy to change the oil without ramps or anything. Filter is vertical near the front and easy to access and remove from underneath with minimal spillage and no stretching. Oil plug has deep threads into the cast aluminum pan. Steel plug into an aluminum pan means the pan threads will give first, but they are plenty deep and appear unlikely to strip unless REALLY overtorqued. No problem using a torque wrench on the drain plug without raising the car. The valve cover has a little curved drip rail molded into it to catch a drop or two of oil before running off the valve cover and onto the exhaust manifold. Nice touch.

Question:

The oil that drained out was the oddest stuff I have ever seen. It was not dark, but rather was very opaque and had a strong greenish cast to it, with a hint of gold. I'm letting it overnight to settle, just to make sure there isn't any coolant in it.

Does Ford use a break-in oil on the Focus which would account for this odd color? I didn't think anyone used special break-in oils any more. I did notice that when I checked the oil first when it only had 30 miles on it that the oil was much more opaque and "yellow" than I am use to seeing. Is this a charateristic of the new GL5 5W-20 oil? The Motocraft 5W-20 synthetic blend I put in looked mostly like normal oil, but it does have a more yellow cast to it. but not nearly as opaque as when I first checked the dipstick when picking it up new.
 

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Try hitting the old oil with a black light and see if it glows. Sometimes, they put a flourescent dye in to find leaks that might happen on a new engine. That stuff could make the oil look weird for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
"you haven't seen oil like that because you changed it so soon and it was still new"

Not to be impolite, but, as I said, I've been changing oil for more than 40 years and I have seen what oil looks like with 1000 miles on it, 5000 miles on it, and 10000 miles on it. I have seen it drained out of new cars, old cars, and cars with shot head gaskets and coolant in it. I have seen one where the original oil was still in it at 25,000 miles. I also know about the debate as to when oil should be changed and I have reached my own conclusions, which apparently are different from yours.

I changed the oil on my Z4 after its initial 1,000 miles 18 months ago, and it looked nothing like the stuff that came out of the Focus.

I have done oil analysis on oil in the past, including on my Z4, which established the increased wear during break-in and supporting an initial change at a lower than "recommended" mileage.

I have a Mechanical Engineering BS degree and a lifelong interest in oils and lubrication.

To say it simply, is is quite different from any oil I have drained from a vehicle in my more than 40 years of oil changes, regardless of the mileage.

So, no, I appreciate your comment, but I have seen oil out of new cars before with only 1,000 miles on it before, and that ain't what I'm seeing -- this is different.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
"When we first got this car, the oil did have a very opaque slightly yellowish/greenish tint to it. "

Thanks for the info. Exactly the feedback I was hoping for.

But out of curiosity I think I'll send a sample of for oil analysis to add to by collection of oil data accumulated over the years. For $15 bucks it might be interesting to see what the lab says. Unfortunately I wasn't planning on taking an oil sample and 'll have to take out of the drain pan, so the sample may have a bit of contamination in it.
 

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I agree with sending it in for analysis. Please let us know if you get any unusual results back.

Out of curiosity, who does your oil analysis?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"Out of curiosity, who does your oil analysis?"

I actually se the one that NAPA sells under their brand. I know many people like Blackstone, but I've been happy over the years with NAPA. I am somewhat unhappy that the NAPA analysis has been cheapened to match the blackstone approach, in thay they no longer uses a sample of the original oil to compare with the used oil. Since there is some variation from batch to batch in oil, the differential analysis was more accurate. I think they gave it up since the majority of people never looked far enough ahead to save a sample of the original oil they put into the car, and only though og oil analysis when it came time to change the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
"don't forget assembly lube" and "Sometimes, they put a flourescent dye in"

Both good ideas. Assembly lube could very well account for the opaqueness, although I didn't see this on the Z4 oil when I drained it after 1,000 miles. But I suspect the BMW engines are probably run-in more than the Focus engines, and might even have an oil change after the run-in/testing process at BMW. I also bought a black light bulb and will try that on it tonight and see what happens. It might make sense for Ford to put the dye in all new engines and use black light as part of the inspection procedure.
 

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The way things are progressing, we could probably expect oil to be any color. With all the synthetics and additives, we may soon see oil that's white, chrystal clear, or oil that changes from red to blue when it's time to change it. Yup, the idea that oil should look a certain way may be becomming an obsolete one.

As an aside- penguin, I know you remember when cars rarely saw 100K, when diesels got their first in-frame at 350K, etc. Look at things today- 200k on a car not uncommon. A million miles on a diesel- happens all the time. But those who operate old engines are seeing the same improvements in engine life, because 90% of that drastic improvement is the result of improvements in fuels and lubes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
"Look at things today- 200k on a car not uncommon. "

My 1992 Ford Explorer is just turning over 195,000 miles. Only work on the engine has been valve cover gaskets to stop a leak (heat from the exhuast manifold hardened the cheap coark gaskets and Ford redesigned them). I'm sure it also needs an O2 sensor, but it seems to have stripped threads and is in an difficult place to work. So considering its likely remaining life and the probable fragility of the rusted exhaust parts, I'm not going to change it.

It did require an auto tranny rebuild at around 165,000, but that's rather good for a Ford transmission.

And yes, I agree that much of the longer life is due to fuels and lubes. But I wouldn't totally discount the improvement in materials, particularly seals, for longer life without major repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
And the winner is.....

Fluorescent dye in the engine oil from the factory.


I took a few dabs of the oil and put them on the inside wall of the trash can. Put the black light on and Bingo! The drops lit up a very nice and obvious Green.

Conclusion? The oil that comes in the Focus engine from the factory looks strange because it has fluorescent dye in it to help find leaks during engine quality control.

Nice work RecoilRob, I would not have thought of that possibility.

Remember, this stuff flouresces under daylight from the UV light contained in normal light, you just do not notice it as much since the other light is stronger. But it still can change the overall appearance, e.g., laundry detergent fluoresces quite brightly, as this makes the whites look whiter in normal light. And the dye in the oil is what makes it look "cloudy" and more opaque, since the light from the dye goes towards your eye and "looks like" light reflected from an opaque liquid.
 

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Penguin, why are you still up messing with this stuff at 2:54 AM ??!! I'm getting this image of a mad scientist, his basement lights on all night, the neighbors are talking... Seriously though, that's interesting, esp the part about the laundry detergent.
 

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Don't waste your money on oil analysis... Ford puts a dye in the oil and runs it in the factory to check for leaks prior to shipment. EVERY new car from Ford has that greenish tint to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
"Penguin, why are you still up messing with this stuff at 2:54 AM ??!!"

Well, curiosity is a dangerous thing. Got back from a Dinner party and just as I was going to bed, I remembered the oil and the black light bulb I bought. Since it is a cheap incadesent black light bulb, testing the oil with it really requires night, not just a garage with the lights out. So.... realizing if I didn't do it then, I'd have to wait for Sunday night to get the answer, I put on the robe and went to the garage with the bulb!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"Ford puts a dye in the oil and runs it in the factory to check for leaks prior to shipment. EVERY new car from Ford has that greenish tint to it."

Thanks for the confirmation. I had heard of using the dye to find oil leaks, but was unaware its usage was SOP for Ford.

Sounds like a good idea, and also suggests that anyone with a new Ford, and who would like to confirm there are no engine oil leaks before their first oil change, could take a look at night with a $4 black light bulb and confirm the engine is tight.
 
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